tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC March 3, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PST
tonight on "all in" -- >> do you still have confidence in the attorney general, sir? >> total. >> a white house in crisis. >> when were you aware he spoke to the russian ambassador. >> i wasn't aware at all. >> reporter: the nation's attorney general caught deceiving congress about contact with the russians. >> i didn't have -- not have communications with the russians. >> now he's stepping down from any investigation into trump's campaign. >> i have recused myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign. tonight, mounting calls for his resignation and a criminal investigation. >> attorney general sessions should resign. >> i think he should resign. >> i think he's got to go.
>> then, an "all in" exclusive. >> this is a complete smear campaign. >> former trump foreign policy adviser carter page under scrutiny for his contacts with russia joins me live. >> it's all a complete sham investigation. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. attorney general jeff sessions, the nation's top law enforcement officer, has now recused himself from any investigations involving the 2016 campaign after it was revealed he met twice with the russian ambassador during the campaign. that's despite having told a senate committee under oath he had no communications with the russians. >> i have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the united states. i should not be involved in investigating a campaign i had a
role in. >> that came less than two hours after the president, on a visit to an aircraft carrier, expressed full confidence in his attorney general telling reporters sessions should not recuse himself. >> mr. president, do you still have confidence in the attorney general, sir? >> total. >> reporter: should sessions recuse himself from investigations into your campaign and russia? >> i don't think so at all. >> reporter: when did you first learn that sessions spoke to the russian ambassador? did you know during the campaign? >> i don't think we should do that at all. >> reporter: when were you aware he spoke to the russian ambassador. >> i wasn't aware at all. >> reporter: when did you find out? >> but after the "washington post's" explosive report on sessions' meeting with the russian ambassador, he faced calls within his own party to recuse himself. meanwhile, protesters gathered outside the justice department today to demand sessions actually step down as attorney general echoing calls from top democrat this is morning.
>> because the department of justice should be above reproach, for the good of the country attorney general sessions should resign. >> the fact that the attorney general, the top cop in our country, lied under oath to the american people is grounds for him to resign. >> according to minority leader pelosi, at least 100 house democrats have called on sessions to resign. meanwhile, democratic members of the house judiciary committee are asking the fbi to open a criminal investigation for possible perjury. at his press conference today, sessions denied he lied under oath when he stated in senate testimony he had no contact with the russians. that came during his confirmation hearing last month. take a look. >> cnn just published the story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between trump's
surrogates and intermediaries for the russian government. if there is any evidence that any one affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? >> i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and i didn't have -- not have communications with the russian. >> sessions explained today he was reacting to the specific report mentioned by senator franken. >> i was taken aback a little bit about just this brand new information, this allegation that surrogates -- and i had been called a surrogate for donald trump -- had been meeting continuously with the russian officials and that's what i -- struck me very hard. that's what i focussed my answer on.
in retrospect and i should have slowed down and said "i did meet with one russian official a couple times." that would be the answer. >> robert, a statement in from the president moments ago "jeff sessions is an honest man, he could have stated his response more accurately but it was not intentional, this whole narrative is a way of saving face for democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win" and on and on. what is the thinking going on in the white house right now? >> my colleagues and i just published a story at the "washington post" about sessions. and if you think about this administration, he's the beating heart ideologically in terms of being a personal confidante of the president so it's no surprise the president is standing by his attorney general, by his friend jeff sessions. but you have a lot of scrambling going on at the white house today. chief strategist steve bannon, chief of staff reince priebus they stayed back, didn't go to virginia with the president trying to figure out with the
justice department what to do. >> you mentioned this and we should note this, the footage is an early rally jeff sessions attended in alabama with donald trump. he was the first sort of mainstream gop figure to appear with trump. he didn't endorse him until a little while later but stephen miller his long time aide is working directly with the president, writing his speeches. sessions is the core of trumpism. he's not an expendable personality. >> you have to understand that dynamic. this is not just another cap in the member. i was at that rally backstage with then candidate trump and senator sessions summer of 2015, it was a sweltering day in mobile, alabama, and sessions saw in trump -- i saw it up close then -- someone who he could help translate the gut instincts, those populist instincts trump had into policy, power, and action and more than a year later his whole life long
project, limiting legal immigration, going after illegal immigration, he has the ability toll do what he's always wanted to do while he was on the fringes. >> in fact, in the first few weeks he's withdrawn the u.s. government's position in a crucial texas voting rights case in which for years the government has maintained the intent of that texas law was discriminatory. the government has withdrawn that position. that is sessions' handiwork at play. he also it seems has things to do with his colleagues. we saw the tape, he said "i didn't have contact with the russians." he answered that almost spontaneously. that is not true. he's got to make up that somehow. >> his colleagues are a little bit bewildered, someone who's always talked about having the right kind of testimony on capitol hill. sessions has criticized people in the past for being inelegant or not being too careful when it comes to testimony but it's not just immigration in these executive orders. sessions has deeply shaped policy in lgbt regulations and
rules and he has the president's trust and confidence and the "new york times" first reported when it came to lgbt policy the president sided with sessions not with the education secretary betsy devos. >> robert costa, thank you. i'm joined by senator chris murphy, democrat from connecticut and senator, first, i want to ask your response to the recusal today. is that enough? >> no, it's clearly not enough. there's been an erosion of trust in the attorney general's office. there's no guarantee that just because he's telling the cameras he's recusing himself that those working under him won't feel some pressure maybe to pull the foot off the accelerator when it comes to investigations happening now or future investigations as long as a close campaign confidante of the president is in charge of the department of justice. i don't think any of us can have confidence that there's going to be a meaningful investigation there. so i don't think this is enough. i'm glad he did it. i'm amongst those who thinks he needs to step down. >> you think he needs to resign?
>> i think he needs to resign. i think you do have to have a higher standard for the attorney general. we should try to get to the bottom of what he said before that committee, whether he was intentionally lying or whether it was an act of unintentional misleading. but the fact of the matter is as attorney general it probably matters more than other cabinet officials that he's representing the truth to the united states congress. this is supposed to be a little bit more apolitical position than other members of the cabinet because of those law enforcement powers and that's all been compromised. >> so i want to ask you this question about the propriety of these meetings because i think there's two things to distinguish. it turned out not to be true which strikes me as the concrete violation here. it's something i would imagine senators do as part of the normal course of business.
does that strike you odd or suspicion? >> there's nothing wrong with a member of the senate meeting with the russian ambassador. the fact of the matter is this was the current of a heat the investigation, there are allegations swirling around about the russians interest in that. now is it likely that jeff sessions and the russian ambassador are sitting in his senate office of russian interference. but the fact is he tried to cover it up, the fact that he didn't try to clear up the record after that confirmation hearing, the fact that it dove stales with flynn's attempt to conceal his contact with the russians suggests there is more than smoke. that there's got to be some fire down below. >> and there's one other story that broke today which is that jared kushner and general flynn
met with kislyak in december. that's a previously undisclosed meeting and, again, we keep finding this pattern of it seems to me meetings that in other context would be normal but weren't disclosed amidst a lot of scrutiny of them which leaves you scratching your head? >> and remember this was at a time when the trump campaign was parading people through the front door of trump tower for everyone to see. clearly kislyak came through a door that was undisclosed and i think you have to put this in the context of trump's policy towards russia. maybe we wouldn't worry so much about this if trump was coming down hard on russia for violating the inf treaty. they were trying to set up the next round of tough sanctions but it's the opposite. trump is taking a softer position on russia than any administration before. there's no theory of international relations that explains the way the trump administration is positioning themselves on russia and when you butt these contacts that seem to drip, drip, drip out by the day next to this bizarre russia policy that trump is
taking on, it all starts to just rise our level of concern. >> senator chris murphy, thank you for your time. i'm joined by richard painter, the chief white house ethics lawyer under george w. bush. mr. painter, you had a tweet you said misleading the senate in sworn testimony about one's own contacts with the russians is a good way to go to jail. what do you mean by that? >> well, we are still very concerned about russian espionage inside the united states in efforts to subvert our government. it's been a problem since the 1920s for many decades. they tried this through the communist party and various affiliates of the communist party and now the subversion is somewhat different. focus on computer hacking, blackmail, efforts to support extreme rights groups in the united states and now in france with their upcoming election. this is a real danger.
and this poses a danger to western democracies for several decades. it's not something to lie about, it's not something to tell half-truths about. anything involving deals with the russians is serious business and i think if someone, particularly you should oath but even in any other circumstance is telling half-truths to the government about dealings with the russian, they're asking for trouble and people have gone to jail for lying about their relationships with the russians or russian agents. >> well, but just to be a little more specific here, this is the ambassador of russia. this is the united states senator, as the senator said, on its face there's nothing untoward about a meeting and the senator contends that essentially he unintentionally misled because he thought the context of the question was so specific to the campaign. do you buy that? >> well, i don't know whether he unintentionally misled whatever
but he misled. it's clearly a misleading answer. he's the attorney general of the united states, we cannot have this type of carelessness, intentional deception, i don't know what it is from a senior administration officials or from members of congress. we have to take the threat from russia very seriously, what they did in our election, what they're tried to do in the united states in the past and what they're doing in europe, it's serious business and if the attorney general can't be careful in what he's saying about his contacts with the russians and simply disclose it, those meetings, there may have been nothing wrong with those meetings but why not tell his colleagues in the senate that he had the meetings instead of saying he had no contacts with the russians during the election campaign. that just was not true and this is not an area in which to fudge the truth. >> it strikes me also, i'm curious to hear what you think as a lawyer who worked in the white house that congressional testimony is reviewed by staff
afterwards. they go back through the transcript and attempt to catcher or ares. in fact, famously james comey's letter, the famous comey letter, was, he said, an attempt to correct what could have been misimpression in the testimony he gave before congress about the hillary clinton, e-mail investigation. does it strike you as odd that the committee wasn't notified? >> i don't know who reviewed the staff, reviewed the testimony. i don't know if director comey had anything do with it but the fact of the matter is that this was a clear error, it was a misrepresentation because he had met with the russians and all he needed to do was be honest and say i had these meets with the ambassador and the members of the committee would ask what was discussed at the meetings. he was do his best to recall what was discussed at the meetings and we'd go from there.
but we are not going to be able to deal with the russia problem and with russian subversion in the united states, if we can't be honest with each other or if we make it into a partisan issue. republicans and democrats never tolerate a communist subversion to this country and we're not going to tolerate a subversion of this country by vladimir putin's agents and we have to support our allies in europe. france is going through this experience right now. this is a critically important issue and i expected a lot more of the attorney general with respect to this than we not go that confirmation hearing. >> thank you, richard painter. up next, an "all in" exclusive. carter page who was himself cited as a foreign policy adviser, a man with ties to russia and now new reporting in the last hours that he, too, met with the russian ambassador. carter page joins me at this desk after this two-minute break.
with us tonight, "usa today" in addition to two other people during the republican national convention in july met with ambassador kislyak. among them, a man named carter page, page will join me for an interview momentarily. he was mentioned in a blockbuster "new york times" story two weeks ago claiming trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with russian intelligence. page named as one of four trump aides the fbi has examined. all four deny wrongdoing. page is a former merrill lynch investment banker whose biography indicates he spent three years in moscow arranging blockbuster energy sect ordeals but a deeply reported politico story found in the expat business community in russia no one had ever heard of carter page. page is a critic of u.s. foreign policy, including u.s. sanctions against russia, last year reportedly hailed vladimir putin as a more reliable leader than president obama. last march then-candidate trump identified page as a member of his foreign policy team.
>> we heard you might be announcing your foreign policy advisory team soon. >> you want me to give you some of the names? carter page, ph.d. >> trump insisted page played no role in his campaign. >> carter page is an swloij the president-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign. >> joining me now is carter page. i'm glad you're here, you and a couple individuals and another adviser met with sergei kislyak at the return see in cleveland. is that true? >> chris, it's interesting, one of those pieces from the "washington post" that you showed, it starts out with a discussion of a meeting that i participated in with prime minister modi quoting a number of sources that -- about things that i supposedly said which were completely false. >> right, but i'm asking you --
>> but that meeting was off the report record and i'm not talking about any -- or that entire conference which -- >> which one are you talking about? at the return see? there's a conference that put together -- i want to give people the context. it's not like you're in a back alley with the russian ambassador. there are a bunch of ambassadors that come in, it's done every year, but you met with sergei kislyak. >> i'm not talking about meetings that i had there because i learned confidentiality rules when i was in the u.s. navy and i'm sticking with the commitment i made to the organizers that i would keep it an off-the-record meeting. i'm not talking about individual discussions or people i may or may not have met with. >> so "usa today" is reporting this. you won't confirm or deny it. two weeks ago you were with judy woodruff and she said "did you have meetings last year with russian officials inside russia, outside russia anywhere?" you said "i had no meetings. no meetings." >> no meetings relating to those
issues which were being brought out or she was asking about -- which was another front page -- i can't remember -- >> wait a second. i want to be clear. when you said "i had no meetings, no meetings" you are amending that to say no meetings relating to the issues specific to what jutd di woodruff was talking about? >> she was specifically talking about the investigation which came out the same day or the day previous so that was the context. >> can i be totally honest with you here for a second? >> please. >> you know, there's this pattern here where everything in concept -- you can tell me yeah, i met with sergei kislyak, there was a bunch of different ambassadors, there was one from germany and we talked, there's no smoke here. and that may have been true about michael flynn talking to sergei kislyak and it may have been true at jared kushner's meetings and it may be true about jeff sessions but there's this pattern which you appear to be part of in which there's a bizarre dissembing about the basic facts of the matter. do you understand that leads people to think it's fishy? >> when you talk about today's
front page article when you talk about the ongoing works by the obama white house to come after and burrow in all kinds of information, that's the reason why this kind of question is being asked. >> i get you think this is being pursued by the opponents and enemies the president. i get that. i'm asking you straight up, just for a straight answer, you're saying i can't confirm or deny, "usa today" is reporting it, you told one reporter i had no meeting with the russians, now you're saying you had no meeting with what they were talking about. i'm trying to get a straight answer. did you meet sergei kislyak? >> i'm not going to deny that i talked to him. although i will say i never met him anywhere outside of cleveland. >> i'm respect to feel the organizers, i'm respectful to confidentiality. whether it's in government or outside. >> but you're not going to deny you talked with him in
cleveland. >> i do not deny that. >> okay, we have established this. here's my other question. there's weird things about whether you are an adviser or not. the man who is president of the united states, donald trump reads your name to the "washington post." its own campaign disavows or disowns you. what's the deal. were you an adviser to donald trump? >> i never directly briefed donald trump. i was part of a named committee which was put together -- >> so you were part of the committee that advised the campaign? >> that's a fair assessment. >> what did you do in that role and capacity? >> you know, similarly i don't like talking about internal discussions. it's the old first rule of fight club, don't talk about fight club. i think if you look at a lot of the internal talks, a lot of leaks about what happened -- >> sure, but i'm asking you a question about sort of the genre of activity in which you engage as opposed to substance which is to say did you write memos about
issues, did you get on conference calls? was that the kind of thing you were engaged? >> i think the two points, i'm talking about -- however -- >> so why did they say you didn't advise the campaign? that's advising the campaign. >> no, that's not what they -- they said i was not directly briefing -- >> the president or the man who's now the president of the united states. >> exactly, exactly. >> so how did you -- there's some reporting that indicated -- this ties to jeff sessions, there's a question of how you came into the other bit of the campaign. i know you're the subject of a lot of scrutiny, you're waking up everyday, you're reading about yourself so i'd like to give you an opportunity to clear the air. was it jeff sessions or any members of his staff the conduit to which you came through the other ---or bit of the trump campaign. >> i can say that's not the case. but the fact that i'm now public enemy number one, i don't want
to sully the name of other people. >> be can you tell me -- how did you come into the orbit of the campaign. >> if i named names there would be reporters calling those people. i'm respectful to other people. >> i get that, but the obfuscation seems to indicate there wasn't something there. how did you come to be part of the orbit of the trump campaign. >> maybe to cover my legal fees i might write a book about it someday. but there's nothing material or or important related to that. >> you went to russia in the summer of 2016, you gave a speech there, you were there for three days. the speech is one day. what did you do in russia?
>> had some meets with scholars and professors and some students there and, you know, there were some people that showed up to my graduation speech and i said hello to some people. but no material discussions. you know, they're really international relations scholars. >> did you speak to any russian intelligence officials? >> not that i'm aware of. >> that's the paul manafort answer, right? they don't wear badges? >> it's interesting, i think this is often not really understood in the west. there's a lot of veterans, just like there's veterans from the u.s. military such as myself, people that grew up there through that system. it's possible that someone with some connection at some point in their life, again immaterial information. >> did any conversation you had while you were in russia pertain to u.s. policy to russia vis-a-vis particularly the
sanctions or to the trump campaign? >> nothing about sanctions. >> about the trump campaign? >> there may have been some scholars that we were -- you know, that offered comments and thoughts and, you know, again, nothing specific or worth discussing that was brought up at the time. part of the issue is -- these are things that happen months ago and you give the examples of people being called out. i want to be careful is what exact conversations i might have had. literally nothing was material or important in terms of having any impact or anything related to the dossier or anything resembling -- in any way that. >> i want to be specific here because i want to give you an opportunity too deny or confirm this on the record. the head of rosneft, the former putin chief of staff, these are two individuals the dossier alleges you met with. did you meet we they are of those individuals? >> you know, what's so
interesting about that, chris, i -- so rosneft -- >> the largest oil company in russia. >> exactly. there's been so many reports about the -- >> wait, before you tell me that. that's a simple yes or no question. did you meet we they are of those individuals. >> not -- no, never. >> never? >> no. >> you never met we they are of them. >> not one on one, no. i may have been in a meeting at a conversation or something so i want to be careful -- but i never shook either of their hands. >> and you were never in a meeting with the two of them over the summer? >> absolutely not, for sure. >> did you ever act as a liaison for the trump campaign while you were in russia? were you talking about what the trump campaign's plans for russian policy were? >> absolutely not. no. it's interesting, going back to the rosneft issue, who bought rosneft? >> we don't know. >> it is known. it's public record. glen corps, and who is the founder? a guy named mark rich.
so if you want to know that the clintons are better people to ask. >> but let me ask you that, the context for all this -- and i believe people like yourself and others believe there is a witch-hunt going on but the reason for that is because every u.s. intelligence agency has come to the conclusion that it was russia that illegally broke into the dnc e-mail system and to john podesta in an attempt to subvert and sabotage an american election. do you believe that's the case? >> you know, i don't know anything about those accusations or those theories. what i know is the impact of all the lies going back to those -- the dodgy dossier we were just talking about and the substance of that, that without question had a much more material impact on the election just having a negative -- >> but the dossier came out after the election, obviously. >> yeah, but it was leaked constantly so the reports about me in september when i decided
to step back from the campaign, you know, that was when -- that was all based on that dossier. and it had been shopped around literally dozens of news agencies. >> but do you -- you have no independent view about the intelligence agencies about the -- about russia doing this? you take their word for it or you have no independent view of it? >> i'm skeptical about it. i -- in a letter i wrote to the civil rights division at department of justice outlining some of the crimes committed against me during the campaign i actually included as an appendix, appendix b, the -- a list of things where there's big questions surrounding that. >> did you ever discuss the repeal of sanctions in russia and do you believe that the meetings that you got in russia and the people that talked to you were doing them because they thought you were an agent of the trump campaign? >> you know, i have literally spoken at some of the top universities in moscow dozens of times in the past.
i lived there for years and i was a regular at many of the top universities so there's nothing out of the ordinary of me going and being the commencement speaker. nothing out of -- >> that doesn't the answer the question. did you talk about sanctions or the removal of the sanctions? >> oh, that was the second part of the question. so i've been on the record, i've written things in the past that sanctions don't work. >> we should say there's two sort of -- there's the sanctions post crimea which you wrote against, you're on the record as opposing. >> absolutely. >> then the actions taken during the transition in response to the hacking which are more targeted. >> yes. so on the sanctions, on the crimea issue, so much of the news coverage has sort of started with crimea without looking at what happened with the mistakes made by the u.s. government in the months prior to that and i've written about that in detail as well. >> so i want to finally -- the most fevered imagination of people is that agents and
associates of the trump campaign were communicating with agents and associates of vladimir putin, his surrogates or russian intelligence to collude for the trump campaign. at any time did you have liaisons with anyone in russia in which you were talking about the hacking that was going on or things the campaign might do? >> i had absolutely no involvement with that and, again, it will be interesting -- >> categorically no? >> categorically no and it will be interesting when they have this paper trail of what the intelligence community was doing looking at the collusion between the efforts by the clinton campaign and members of the obama administration during those months. >> final question. are you in touch with anyone at the white house? >> i know various people there. i don't -- >> that's a yes. >> i don't talk about any specific discussions. >> carter page, appreciate your time tonight, thank you for coming in. >> thanks a lot chris. great to see you. >> we'll be right back.
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>> i'm not going to deny i talked with them -- >> so you did talk to them? >> am though i will say i never met him anywhere outside of cleveland. let's say that much. >> the only time you met him was in cleveland? >> that i may have met him possibly or might have been in cleveland. >> joining me now, john dean, former white house counsel of richard nixon and malcolm nantz, author of the book "the plot to hack america."
john, what i said to mr. page i think is the pattern throughout which is that there's just a lot of dissembing and obfuscation about things that relate to contacts through the russians. >> your questions were very clear. his answers were very evasive. i'm surprised somebody would go on television and do that kind of little dance. did he solicit the show? >> we've been in contact with him. mr. page has been transparent in what he thinks is the facts of the matter. he's written letters to various news organizations, he contends he's being persecuted unfairly and wants to clear his name. and that's why he came on and we were happy to have him on but again, malcolm. if you look at three
individuals, there are possibilities of having contacts with russian officials or whatever that could be completely explainable in all three cases some obfuscation or deception about whether they happened and ultimately them being revealed ended up looking like there's something going on. >> well, you're absolutely right. in every major fire it always starts with smoke and smoke is what kills you, right? it's not the fire itself. i thought that he was rather weasely. that was the phrase i would use. and to be honest with you as a former military man, someone who served in the navy for a couple decades i was really surprised. this was a man who was a naval academy graduate who served this nation and he seemed quite pleased about his roles and his activities in russia. it's one thing to go out and spread the flag, but he's not. if you read everything he says
about the united states it's pretty down on this nation and he is a great admirer of the vladimir putin/russia world view. that being said. i thought what he said in this -- what he said in this interview was very evasive and to be quite honest i have a message for him. u.s. intelligence is not going to be coming at him like a lawyer, right? we will turn on the entire power of the u.s. collection system and if he is lying it is going to become very well known very quickly. we have allies and if he thinks he's being slick, it's going to become very clear once this thing is brought to light. >> we should be clear, he's an american citizen and he has due process, he says he's innocent, he's not been accused of committing any crime. i want to be clear about the status of this with respect to mr. page. >> but if there's a fisa warrant out there, all of what you said goes out the window. we have the ability to collect anything on him including all of
his finances and every relationship he has with anybody in this world so i certainly hope he is being truthful. i hope he's an asset for u.s. intelligence and the innocent character in this but i would be very careful in case he's subpoenaed and brought before congress. >> mr. dean you had tweeted this somewhat cheekily, "hey, donald, a tip, coverups don't get easier as they proceed. russia tie leaks drown your speech." today the white house did something which is that they proactively disclosed a meeting which they've never done ever. every meeting we learn about is the foreign press or someone else in which kislyak met with jared kushner and michael flynn. do you think that's a recognition that they have to get out ahead of some of this stuff? >> i think they have to realize that they have to appreciate
that the reaction to everything, instead of taking some pro-action is going to hurt them in the long run. they're not acting like people are trying to get the truth out. they're not trying to open the doors and get the answers. they are always having answers that half explain or fail to explain the charges that are suggested by what's going on. the jeff sessions interview today, or his press conference. as chris matthews raised, it made no sense for him not to know what was going on in the headlines of all the major papers but yet he's saying he's having this meeting with the russians unaware of the charges that involve the russians hack ing hillary's campaign. so it's very confusing they're going out and making statements. that's the worst thing they could do if they're going to compound the situation. >> malcolm, i wanted to ask you a question that carter -- mr. page referred to a "new york times" story that ran yesterday shortly before we got off air about the ways in which the
intelligence relating to this matter had been intentionally spread across different parts of the government by the folks in the outgoing administration for fear that it would be covered up or lost. what did you make of that? there's two ways to make of that, uncharitably the obama folks are out to get donald trump and this is their plan, charitably that they were worried it would be swept under the rug. >> i think it's disturbing and disturbing not for the reasons the trump administration would think. it's disturbing in that u.s. intelligence malcolm not just the white house, we're talking in-depth components of u.s. intelligence thought this information which was sensitive, which may implicate people in the next administration would be the first thing to hit the burn bag when the new administration comes in so they deep dropped this information into subcompartmented areas and seeded it legally and done with
the right classifications and the right places as a form of intelligence continuity of government so that that itself is indicative of the mind-set of the intelligence community about who they think the loyalties of this administration is, and it's not to the united states. >> mr. dean, there was a piece yesterday about the white house counsel ordering the preservation of records pertaining to russia. you were white house counsel. are you confident there's a culture of compliance in the white house and other agencies that that will be adhered to in you're shaking your head. >> not at all. the same thing happened during watergate. mike mansfield, the majority leader sent a letter out from the senate saying the white house should preserve all evidence and what have you. it was ignored. i sent a copy of the letter to alert everybody who might be concerned nobody honored it.
they just ignored it so i don't see this as a powerful enforcement tool and there's no statutes that give congress power to enforce any kind of destruction of evidence after receipt of that letter. >> john dean, malcolm nance, thank you, gentlemen, appreciate it. >> my pleasure. still to come, more on the sessions fallout and the continuing question about the president's ties to russia. start by taking care of families for 70 years. earn the trust of 32 nfl teams. be there for america's toughest and help, when help is needed america's #1 isn't a status earned overnight. it's earned in every wash, and re-earned every day. tide, america's #1 detergent
a very special combination thing 1 thing 2 tonight. thing 1, it was a surreal day on capitol hill and that was just one of many bizarre moments. >> mr. lincoln, i can't find it. like you said, it's everything but the public can't see the bill, they can't get it to our senate. i know, mr. lincoln you are as
upset with your party as i am. thank you all. >> that was house minority whip steny hoyer having an earnest heart-to-heart with a big giant bust of abraham lincoln because he couldn't find the new house republican health care bill. now, he wasn't the only one looking for it. the whole caper didn't start with democrats. after news reports started circulating that house republican leaders were hiding their new bill to repeal and replace obamacare and only allowing certain members to view in the a secret reading room, today republican senator rand paul decided to blow the thing open tweeting this morning "i am heading to the secure location where they are keeping the house obamacare bill. i will demand a copy for the american people. and he came prepared. >> we're assuming it's several hundred pages long, we brought our copy machine but it looks like we won't be able to copy it. >> senator paul and his copy machine were denied entry where they arrived at the room where the bill was rumored to be.
then the mystery thickened? >> we showed up and asked to have a copy of the bill and we were told we couldn't have a poppy. then later on mysteriously everyone inside the room disappeared and there was no bill. >> nothing says we're supremely confident about our health care legislation like literally locking it in a vault.
to be clear mr. trump has no relationship with oligarchs. >> that's what i said -- that's it -- that's what my position is. >> paul manafort was not exactly calm when he answered those questions like did people from the trump campaign engage in back channel communications with the russians, colluding with them as the hacked dnc e-mails to broader questions about possible ties between donald trump and russia.
my next guest is determined to get to the bottom of it. congressman jerry nadler joins me next. so tell us your big idea for getting the whole country booking on choice hotels.com. four words, badda book. badda boom... let it sink in. shouldn't we say we have the lowest price? nope, badda book. badda boom. have you ever stayed with choice hotels? like at a comfort inn? yep. free waffles, can't go wrong. i like it. promote that guy. get the lowest price on our rooms,
i'm not going to deny that i talked to him although i will say i never met him anywhere outside of cleveland. that's say that much. >> the only time you met him was in cleveland. >> that i may have met him possibly might have been in cleveland. >> joining me now congressman jerry nadler, a member of the house judiciary committee, sponsor of the resolution of inquiry which your republican colleagues killed in the judiciary committee during the same day of the joint session. mr. page is one of the people the "new york times" identified as possibly being under investigation. what are the big questions you feel like you need to know now? >> there are two big questions. number one, donald trump is belligerent to every other country, the french, japanese, chinese, mexicans, australians but he fawns all over vladimir putin and russia. it's one thing to say he should be friendly, another to fawn all over. what's going on there?
secondly what hold do they have if any? this is out of character. the second thing is the russians we know tried to intervene in the american election and tried to rig the election against hillary and in favor of trump we now know a lot of trump people were in touch with russians during the trump campaign. was the trump campaign colluding with the russians to subvert an american election and was the candidate colluding? >> if that were the case it would be one of the most exclusive scandals in american history, right? and there's no evidence that we have access to that says that that's the case. >> well, there's a lot of evidence that says a the russians tried to subvert the
election, we know that. there's a lot of evidence that says various people in the trump orbit, the trump campaign were talking to the russian. maybe to the intelligence agencies during the time period they were attempting to subvert the election. that's what we know. >> right. >> what were they talking about? were they doing it with the knowledge or intent of the candidate? that we have to find out. >> what information do you -- what documentation, information interviews under oath with whoever do you feel like you would need to have access to to feel like you could get to the bottom of this? >> well, obviously you'd want to put a lot of people under oath, the people in the trump campaign who talk to the russians. you'd want to see the president's tax returns which would show you whether he's be holden to russian interests. whether he gets a lot of money. he said recently he had no funds from russia, on the other hand his son said a couple years ago money from pouring in from russia. what's going on there? what kind of interest do they have if any. you want to see those things. >> you could theoretically legally compel the tax returns although that was voted down by republicans also in committee. >> in the ways and means committee. >> but that's something presumably the congress could compel those tax returns?
is that something they could do? >> absolutely congress can and should. it's been a norm of american democracy for the last 50 or 60 years. he didn't show it with a ridiculous excuse about an audit. we don't even know if there was. we have to see that information i think as more and more things come out about how close he is to the russians for no apparent reason, about more and more -- lies about people having talked or not talked to the russians, pressure is building up to get this out. >> jeff sessions, do you take him at his word that he was not trying to misdirect and he understood that question from senator al franken in a narrow context? >> no, i don't take him at his word. >> do you think the attorney general is lying? >> i think at -- i don't know. but at worst he's committed perjury. at best he deliberately misled the senate. when he was asked about contacts
with the russians he could have said and if he were being honest he would have said i spoke to them a couple times, it had nothing to do with the campaign. he didn't say that, he said no. that's misleading the senate. he knew what they were looking and and he deliberately misled the senate and why he's got to resign. >> you think he should resign? >> absolutely. you cannot have an attorney general of the united states who either lies or deliberately misleads the senate. >> republicans feeling pressure on this. as of now the president has a higher approval rating among republicans than previous presidents, higher than gorge h.w. bush, i believe. higher than george w. bush. do they have political pressure? >> i think the political pressure is mounting and will mount because it becomes increasingly hard to justify what looks like a coverup. >> do you believe there is a coverup? is that your belief? >> yeah. it amounts to a coverup.
people are lying and not coming forward. yes. what they're covering up maybe it's not that much i don't know. but we have to find out. >> congressman jerry nadler, thank you for your time. that's "all in" for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris, thanks my friend. >> you bet. thank you for joining us at this hour. attorney general jeff sessions recusing himself from overseeing investigations into the trump campaign and russia. this is a big deal, we've been following this for a long time, we've been following this intense attention when the attorney general recused himself it felt like one of those moments that was like exactly halfway between oh my god i can't believe that happened and oh my god i can't believe it took this long far to happen. that happened. we'll have more on that story ahead including the super serious allegations against the fbi in this matter.